En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Oak Bark Loss in Arlington, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have multiple oak trees in my yard (in north texas) that have begun to lose their bark in small chunks. I'm in the middle of the city so their are no deer and yes it's been a dry 2 years but this just started in the last few months. It looks like some one shot the entire tree with a shot gun with chunks off everywhere. Are they sick and can do anything about it if so? I do water regularly sprinkler wise and these are huge oaks.

ANSWER:

That’s not a good sign.  I found a good article on this - Read "Loss of tree bark around state might be linked to drought" by Bruce Keitler.  You can also learn more from another Mr Smarty Plants question/answer pair:  How do you stop the bark from peeling off the tree in Amarillo, from this article on ehow, and this document from a neighborhood association in Williamson County on Oak Tree Diseases.

Mr Smarty Plants conclusion from reading this information is simply that there are a number of possible diseases and possible insect invasions that could cause these generic symptoms,  none of them good.  Mr Smarty Plants did do a question on How to treat bark damage on oak tree, which has recommendations quite similar to what Bruce Keitler recommended.  This mostly cleans up the damage and prepares the tree to heal on its own.
  I noticed your comment that you water regularly with sprinklers, thats also not necesarily good.  Remember that trees benefit best from a very deep watering, done at long intervals.  More detail is in this earlier Mr Smarty Plants answer:  "Watering practices for live oaks in drought from New Braunfels TX".
  If the issue with your trees continues to spread you may want to consult the Tarrant County Extension or a Tree Professional.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lacey oak
Quercus laceyi

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Post oak
Quercus stellata

Nuttall oak
Quercus texana

Mexican white oak
Quercus polymorpha

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

What's that sticky stuff on plants under many trees?
August 23, 2010 - Here in Austin, I've recently noticed a sticky film appearing on shrubs, flowers, grass, etc. under many trees. It appears to be coming from the trees under which they are planted. The sticky film ...
view the full question and answer

Escarpment Black Cherry losing leaves in Austin, TX.
July 13, 2012 - Dear Mr. Plants: We live in Austin off of Mount Bonnell Road. We have beautiful 20 foot tall + black escarpment cherry tree very near the house with leaves turning yellow like it's about to drop th...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurels are dying in Georgetown, TX.
April 02, 2012 - Ten year old Mountain Laurels both last year and this spring have had entire branches turn brown just after blooming this Feb. Round Rock Arborist suggested I contact you. Last year one of my laurels...
view the full question and answer

Mildew in Phlox paniculata
October 13, 2008 - I planted garden phlox (phlox paniculata) in my front landscaping and it is suffering from mildew. It is wet on that side due to a down spout and it may benefit from being split. Does anyone know of...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Juniperus scopulorum in Dallas
May 19, 2011 - Dallas, Texas - Juniperus Scopolorum "Skyrocket" Last June I planted six, five foot tall along my chain length fence by the alley. Full sun. One died within 6 months. The soil seems to stay damp...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center